The Mercatos of the Metro

There are a number of food/weekend markets out there in the metro these days. Some may say this growing presence is bordering on oversaturation, while others do not seem to mind that. Especially if they have something different to offer for a discriminating palate.

Then there are a few that stand out thanks to longevity and loyal patronage among a growing fanbase. Out of that few, there are those that have stood up well enough to establish by itself a growing network of food markets in the metropolis. Such is the success story of Mercato Centrale.

The concept of Mercato Centrale was borne out of the inspiration from the weekend markets of Florence in Italy, as well as the Boroughs Market in London. Its masterminds are no lightweights either, counting among them the famed food blogger/entrepeneur Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet and actor/host/entrepeneur RJ Ledesma.

Mercato Centrale

It first opened its doors at a tent put up at the corner of 9th and 30th streets at the Bonifacio Global City as a weekend morning market. Thanks to word of mouth, social media, and a wide selection of food and other items being offered at the venue, in no time, it became a household name not only as a prime destination in the BGC area but in the greater metropolis as well.

Its popularity soared high enough that it warranted at least one “spin-off,” First to be conceived was its night-time companion the Midnight Mercato in February the following year. Another change came the month after, when the Mercato Centrale and Midnight Mercato relocated up north, at the corner of 8th and 34th streets.

Soon, being situated in the BGC is not enough for Mercato’s growing popularity. In November of that year, two Mercato markets were opened in different parts of the metro: the Soderno in Alabang and the Distrito near the Makati Medical Center.* This was followed by the opening of Mezza Norte in the UP Diliman Technohub area in July of this year and the Manda Centrale in Greenfield District of Mandaluyong in October. Another development that must be noted here is the recent move of the original daytime weekend Mercato Centrale at the BGC to its original home at the corner of 9th and 30th streets.

With a presence in almost every part of Metro Manila, the Mercato network is becoming an influential player in the metropolis’ lifestyle and business scene. Some fast-rising businesses started out as vendors in the Mercato market. There is little doubt we will not hear more of these similar success stories in the future as the Mercato markets keep on evolving and growing in the midst of the success they have achieved in such a short time.

*note: the Distrito in Makati is currently closed as of this writing, pending completion of the plans to move to a bigger location

© The Urban Roamer

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